The Adventure of Surprise.

The gift of transformation takes place, often, without you even being aware of it. What do I mean? The list of people who have had some sort of transforming, positive, impact on me, not by preaching at me, directly interacting with me, or otherwise attempting to purposely alter me, but just did whatever it was that they loved to do has gotten quite long indeed, and it reveals some interesting things about life, about people, and about myself:

I desire to know why it is that when I’m around certain people, We’ll call them Winter, Iris, and Autumn, Jordan, Mark, and Peter, or even see them in videos and what not, that it seems as though I have encountered something so wonderful, and so beautiful, I wonder how it can be true that they are a part of this world. There is such a radiance and inner light shining from them, that it feels as though there is someone who is not of this world before me. A sense of greatness, there is something I see in these people, I cannot deny it. There is something special about them, and I cannot quite name what it is, it something that is more felt than thought I think. These are those whom Heaven has given wings, and with them, they fly, they live, and live passionately, their very being is a testament to the goodness of their God, and their hands create works of wonder, and power, that transform the souls of all who they encounter.

One friend I’ve long sensed all this about, I’ll call her Alice, she holds this quality. I noticed it some years ago, but never knew quite what to make of it. One afternoon, I happened to overhear a conversation, and the topic was my friend, Alice, their words? Exactly what I had written in my heart as a description of her, but didn’t quite have the words for in my head, yet. But in essence, it was exactly the same. I know now I do not imagine these qualities in her out of desire, or imaging a better version of her than she really is. In a mental world of my own where I try to take into consideration as many possibilities and so forth as I possibly can, I believed myself to be mistaken, I was truly puzzled that my friend could be what it was that she appeared to be, that there must be something I was missing. I knew not whether it was good or bad, but surely, there was something I was missing. How could I not be missing something? So it was far more astonishing to hear the words of someone who didn’t know her, talking with someone who has long knew her, and having their words match my observations to perfection. The stranger and the one who knew her well. These are the words of witnesses, unclouded by my own internal ramblings, possible misunderstandings, and again taking as much as I can into consideration, perhaps unconscious desires or imaginations. To hear spoken externally, by a third party, all that was in my heart about my friend was a surprise, but a good surprise, I think.

There are witnesses to the greatness of others, many of which match my own observations. Words spoken of them, even lines written in books of their nature, and therefore, I do not doubt their specialness. The words of those outside myself are extremely valuable, especially when they reveal my internal musings and observations to be something of the truth, and not just some invention of my own imagination. I have to admit I am, and always have been, a person highly susceptible to thinking well of people, even to the point of seeing them as being something more than what they truly are, imagining them as better than they are, and I’ve had my share of disappointments accordingly, yes, and yet, I still persist in trying to see the best in people, or thinking well of them, even if I can’t find a reason to think anything other than ill of them, I tend to think well of them, in spite of themselves. But, this tendency has often led me to question whether what I see in a person is real, or imaginary. I never know, and it is only when I start hearing other people speak of these character traits being present or not, that I begin to be able the facts from the imaginations of my mind about those around me.

This is good only in that I have an exceedingly hard time disliking people. It is bad, however, in numerous ways. It causes me to hope, to see people as being something better than what they are, and once I’ve seen that, I hope to see them be that. This is problematic in that I grow disappointed in people when they fail to meet my expectations of what it is that I have seen them become. I know their potential, and I have seen them as they could be, but it messes with my view of how they are now. This breaks tolerance of faults, and gives me a very skewed perspective on what it is that they are. This is wrong of me. My crime is to hope, but it is wrong, because it causes my love for them, as they are now, to be cold, and furthermore, enslaves them to the notion of fitting my expectations or facing my disapproval and rejection. It is not the heart of love for me to hope. Yet, how can I not see people and know that they have within them the ability to be so much more. So much more. To see the creatures they could be, glorious and beautiful, and to see them as they are, fallen, so far, and not wish upon them, improvement from the creeping thing the have become, to the glorious being they could be? What does the heart of love do? Accept people as they are, or does it seek that which we deem to be the greater good?

I do not know the answer to that. Yet, nevertheless, persist in seeing people as beautiful, hoping for them to be so. It is my perception of them to see them as being people who are beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, and glorious creatures. But how do I know if what I am seeing is true or my imagining a better version of them up than that which is true? Or is all that we see in people a matter of perception? Are people what they are to us because that is how we see them to be? Or are their actual, real, characteristics of people, that no amount of perception on behalf of others can alter? There must be, or how could we have first impressions, except that we move with such preconceived notions and prejudices that we bring those, even to those we are just meeting for the first time.

That is why to hear words of others speaking of the truth of my observations is incredibly freeing, it is learning that there is something real, where you were uncertain of it. People do hold qualities, and they hold those qualities in truth, they are not entirely the product of your own imaginations, but actually exist, outside of your own mind and heart, they really do exist.

Like I say, I tend to take into consideration every possible thing I can think of. I can lose certainty whether or not people actually exist as I see them, or if they are the product of my imagination, and not be able to tell the difference between these dreams and that which is real.

Sometimes you know a person for years, you’ve watched them grow up even, from a wee little child to an amazing young woman or man, and they can still surprise you. Like Hobbits. You can study their ways for a hundred years, and they can still surprise you.

There is one such Hobbit-like soul, I’ll call her Aisling, who is the daughter of a friend of mine, who I’ve seen grow up over the years from a little child to what she is now, a young woman. And I found that she is just such a person. She holds an astonishing insight in one so young, an unearthly wisdom and perception. In times it seems as though when she speaks it is worth heeding her word, that it is not her but God speaking through her. She speaks forth with a hidden power, and holds the insight, of the strength, the precision of someone far beyond her own abilities. It is sharp, it is like a sword, it is cunning and powerful, and precise, like she has a sight that sees beyond the mortal eye to the heart of the matter. Believe me, I was absolutely astonished to discover that she was like this, despite having seen her grow up from a child to an adult, she still surprised me. If I had to name what she is, I’d almost want to use the term Prophetess. But, I don’t know, all I know was my complete astonishment when I heard her speak. I remember her from when she was a child, and I hear her now. She has grown greatly in wisdom, in insight, and holds within her a sort of hidden power, I pray she never loses it but remains as precious as she seems to be forever.

As it is to be so it shall be. My hope is that I will not look on with blinded eye, but see with vision clear, all that lies before me. My fear is that people are not as wonderful as they appear to be, that the darkness within is merely waiting, watching, hiding beneath the surface of their souls, lurking wraithlike within them. Waiting to strike, to seize the opportunity of evil. I do have the zombie within, who watches and waits, seeking to strike and seize the opportunity for all kinds of evil. If I have the zombie within, does it not follow that my sisters and brothers of the human race also have their inner zombie?

This troubles me, that even the righteous still contend with their zombies. Perhaps the thing that unites all these people is their standing as the righteous. But there is the problem of one who is not of the faith, not of those who hold the name, yet exhibit many of the same qualities about them that these others do. But how can this be so? How can one who is not of the faith exhibit the nature thereof, yet those who are, I believe, part of the faith, exhibit such behavior that is so contrary to the faith? How can it be that the prophets of lies can exhibit more truly the nature than those who hold the name? Should not the dead be as the dead, and the living as the living? What does it mean when the dead act alive and the living act dead? Are things as they seem? Are the dead truly dead if they are living and are the living truly alive if they are dead?

Am I do call into question one’s unregeneracy, but,if so I must also question if the other is of the living, there have been so many who walk one way or the other in the shadows, and are they alive or are they dead? I can’t always tell. So it is with some who I see, these creatures that are difficult to name what it is that they are. Which is why I fear when it comes to the aforementioned people: The Winters, the Aislings, the Peters, the Alices and so forth, that I referred to. What if they are not as they seem?

What if they are like one I will call Jenna, who appeared to be alive, once, and in her voice prior it is evident she held life, a more troubling thought than if she was never alive, is that she held it, than why does she lack it now? How can this be? How can one go from a light that shines to a creature of darkness in the passing of a year? Which brings up an even more frightening prospect, did I create the monster that she has become? Was it I that served as the catalyst for the darkening of Jenna’s soul? Look at her now, is it not so that she is a small and pitiful thing, a gollum of sorts? But did I do something to transform her from one on whose wings even the light of the sun would dance, to the small, wretched, creature she is now? She has become self-centered like I’ve seen few become. A dark and pitiful creature, the only feelings I have left for her are neither love nor hate, but compassion and sorrow. I knew her when the sun danced off her wings, I remember what she was. I se her now, and I pity her.

This is a sadness. That one so glorious should fall so far.

I am troubled in the consideration of the question: Did she become this because of me? Was it I that came, like a fire, and did the fire burn her and in the consuming of her, transform her from what she was to what she is? And if she once was a creature glorious? What of these other glorious ones? Can they too become pitiful Gollums? This troubles me. I cannot bear to see my brothers and sisters fall.

But we saw it once before, would it not be foolish to think it will not happen again? Sometimes I feel as if I am a burning flame, and I that see people in the light thereof, but some burn away and some endure. Would that all would endure my touch. I do question my responsibility, my role in the lives of others. I am not an entity separate from the rest of humanity, but part of humanity, and my choices, and my actions do have consequences both on myself, and on those around me. I must consider the possibility that I can serve as the catalyst for the falling of some, if they fall. I would be wrong not to examine whether without meaning to even, it was I who pushed them there. What blindness  and prejudices, might I possess, what words might I have spoken that might have gnawed at their souls, and so forth? Our prejudices and blindnesses, even if we do not realize we have them can still hurt those around us, so it must be considered. These questions, however painful to myself, must be asked when I see those whom I love stumble, fall, or lose their way.

I wonder in light of Jenna what to make of others who look like she once looked. Will they too fall from creatures glorious to creatures pitiful?

Can I bear to see Alice as a Gollum-creature? Can I bear to see the inner light darken, and to see her become not a glowing jewel who is so glorious as to possess a measure of invisibility even, to a pitiful, self-centered creature? Can I watch Winter, Iris, Autumn,  Jordan, Mark, or Peter lose the unspeakable preciousness they possess which remains elusive in trying to describe the wonder thereof. And Aisling is more special than she knows, yet will she also fall?

What is this? How do we take these things and not be troubled in our heart about what may happen? Does it now rob me of my peace and joy in the present when I worry about future events that may never be? All these may very well stand strong forever, never falling from the wonder of what they are. Jenna, however, is one of many who where once glorious and have fallen from a glorious creature, for whom the sun herself took delight in shining off their wings, to become a Gollum-like creature, lost, wretched, and deserving of compassion and pity, even though they fall so far. It is not unreasonable to consider that those who are precious now could fall also.

But, I must hope that the lost ones may come back.

I must also ask, is the consideration of the glorious falling worth losing myself over? Would it not be better to pour our thoughts, our hopes, our dreams, our energies, and so forth, into hope? Instead of fretting about them, we hope. We pray for them, that they will remain forever strong, yes, but we hope.

My motto for myself is: “I am fire. I am dauntless. I need not fear anything.” A little phrase I tell myself when I am frightened, or feeling inadequate  to remind myself that I have nothing truly to fear, and I have courage, and dauntlessness with which to act. I am not without hope. Even that I identify with fire is in itself a highly symbolic reference to the overcoming of fears of my own past. The dauntless is a reference to the book that alerted me to the fact that I had fears to face, and I need not fear anything, is a reminder that fear is my enemy.

We can hope, can’t we? We can remember that I found hope, even in the most unlikely places, I can hope for others right?

Back to the original topic of discussion, the impact people can have on me, just by being themselves.

There are those whose channels on YouTube for example, I had discovered, and the result of learning of them has led me to more than one fascinating new study, not to mention the most extraordinary insights. And I keep finding people. I’m not astonished at how many, to put it in as polite a term as I can, idiots, there are out there, but what astonishes me is how many brilliant, wonderful, lovely, and beautiful people there are out there. It almost seems that there are far more of these, even if the first group, the idiots, tend to be the louder group. These precious creatures, these jewels among the ashes, they are everywhere once you start seeing them.

Sometimes, it is like they have begun to haunt me. But who are they? As though the people do indeed proceed to haunt you day and night with their brilliant work, and transform you. I do not even have to know them. Yet everywhere I look, there they are. They haunt me in a sense, and I cannot seem to forget them. It is a complicated thing, I suppose, but the best term I can use for how the works of those who just do what it is that they do, and do it well do to me as an observer of their work. Haunting.

It’s what beauty does. It haunts, it transforms. It’s what art does. It is almost a supernatural thing, and impossible to put into a bottle or a formula, it never happens the same way twice, and impossible to see repeated.

But why? What is it about these brilliant people that is so different than all these other people I meet out and about? It is almost as though they are precious to me but I have no idea why.

That is what artist do, but even knowing that, I still routinely find myself shaken, moved, transformed, and even fundamentally altered from who I was before by the work of the hands of the artist, and despite happening over and over and over again, it still surprises me, every time.

What am I to make of all this? I mean already I’m a different person for having encountered them. Nevertheless, in many cases the artist themselves remain strangers to me, I only ever know their art.

Sometimes, it’s like I can see things that are quite invisible to the waking eyes. I really can’t quite say that I can’t see these things despite that they are not things that are seen. It is like I see these things, even if I don’t quite comprehend them. It’s like I have this sense that all of us are part of something more, that what we do see, is but a small part of a much bigger story than all that I comprehend at the moment, like I can feel that to be true, but I can’t see it.

And where do I come in with all this?

A lot of times with these things, it is like one day they just dropped into my world in all their splendor. What am I to make of it? It is like awaking one morning to find kings and queens are on your doorstep asking for some tea. What is to be made of that?

I am surprised indeed, and it doesn’t make any sense, at all. Most of the time these precious people, they are strangers for goodness sake! In theory, they shouldn’t mean much of anything in particular to me at all. Yet they do. Why? I don’t know them, they just seem precious to me for some reason I can’t explain. This happens over and over and over again. I’m surprised by wonderful people suddenly appearing out of nowhere, with an unforeseen splendor.

I wish I could comprehend the matter, I seek to understand things, it is my nature to try to comprehend even the most remarkable things, but every time it is an unexpected adventure, and it crashes into my world with all the suddenness of and intensity of a party of Dwarves and a wizard named Gandalf in Bilbo Baggin’s Hobbit-Hole.

These people just drop in, crashing through everything, every wall, every defense, every distrust, every reservation, and enter into my world. It’s happened before, lots of times.

I honestly don’t know what this riddle means. It will make sense perhaps in time, but right now it is a great mystery, one that, try though I might to understand it, it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I feel almost as though a community of people is being formed for some great purpose, but not one of them quite realizes it yet. Or I feel as though some great hand is moving and bringing together some of the most precious people I’ve ever encountered. But even so, what does that have to do with me?

Perhaps God does have some purpose for this odd group of odd people in mind. But what does that have to do with me? Or perhaps it is just an odd group of odd people with no particular purpose in mind. I really cannot say.

But one thing is clear, life is an unexpected adventure, even if you do not set out for it to be one. The adventure sometimes comes crashing into your world before you set out on it.

One thing must be asked, and forgive my humor but: “Odd too I am? People. We are. That much, know I.”